Imagine a disease that makes you fall out of love with your partner. Imagine that it left you neurologically incapable of experiencing romantic affection or sexual excitement and removed your ability to orgasm. Imagine these symptoms lasting forever. What would that do to your relationships? To your self-esteem? To your will to live?
This is the reality for people living with Post-SSRI/SNRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD), an uncommon but devastating disorder brought on by the frequently prescribed SSRI and SNRI class of antidepressants.
People with PSSD experience a range of symptoms, from genital numbness to blunted emotions, which vary in intensity from case to case. Some people develop PSSD from chronic antidepressant use, while for others it is brought on by only brief exposure.
The disorder can last months, years or indefinitely after stopping the medication. There is no known cure, though some people report natural improvement over time. Others remain locked out of their own hearts and bodies for decades with no sign of recovery.
Attempts to express our symptoms to physicians are often met with disbelief and our experience dismissed as mental illness rather than neurochemical damage.
A breakthrough in research and activism in 2019 led to formal recognition of PSSD by the European Medical Association, but the condition remains unrecognized in Canada. The prevalence of PSSD among current and former users of antidepressants is unknown.
Canadians with PSSD deserve to be heard. We will not be silent about what has happened to us. All patients prescribed antidepressants have a right to informed consent, which requires a full understanding of the risks of medication. Continued denial and ignorance of PSSD among doctors and the public denies patients their rights.
Post-SSRI/SNRI Dysfunction Canada advocates for recognition of these adverse reactions, including the need for more research and supports those who are experiencing these effects.
Learn more or get involved at PSSD Canada.
PMAG does not provide individual advice or respond to individual requests for assistance. We encourage you to seek qualified medical support. More…
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Updated: January 10, 2024